Coded Spaces of Consumption

Keywords:

-Prosumption

-Customisation

-Brick and Mortar

-Architectural

-Captabases

-Spacial Fetishism

-Interdependendencies

 Definition:

Customisation is the allowance to personalize a product for a single individual creating a unique object. Customisation always existed but only for wealthy people whilst in our days it is available for everyone. It burdens our demands creating new markets giving greater demands for greater goods. It offers the chance of being more unique but most of all it allows the producers to use customised products in order to benefit in the production line. A clear example of customisation is seen with vehicles. This is because for an individual there are so many “possible permutations (engine specs, paint colors, interior trim levels, and accessories) that each vehicle can be almost unique” (Kitchin & Dodge, 2011 pp.187). Other examples are the customized phone cases and coca cola bottles where, the addition of letters, names or personalised quotes give more value to the product in the eyes of a consumer as he/she feels different and more important than the others giving a sense of major desire on purchased personalised products.

A short summary of the Article:

Coded Space of Consumption looks at how the software is reforming the nature of consumption in various ways. In the 20th century the West developed very much in terms of purchasing goods and services. Individuals no matter their class started to accumulate items giving them short-term value just for status, desire and novelty.

The software now has the power to shrink space and time giving each individual the flexibility to purchase in every place at every time. Coding in fact changed completely the way in which we purchase, giving space to new e-commerce possibilities and building relationships with customers making them feel part of the market but most of all keeping them loyal to their brands.

The way we purchase has changed completely too. There is no more the physical transfer of goods and primitive money has disappeared. What we live of in our days is just virtual and ‘direct debit payments;’ “virtual money consists of nothing more than a digital record residing in captabases, and software mechanics that enable value to be transferred electronically between accounts” (Kitchin & Dodge, 2011 pp.182). The article ends showing that software has enabled businesses to become geographically centered making others dissapear from stores and that there will be so many more advances in the digital world in terms of coding that will give the possibility to track a consumer/user reatil activities.

A brief reflection:

Software is making a difference to how consumption proceeds is because it reconfigures consumption’s underlying spatial relations” (Kitchin & Dodge, 2011pp. 181).

Space with technology does not exist anymore. It disappears the same way that time/temporality shrinks space bringing everyone and everything much more closer. For example with shopping, people can request any kind of object form every single retail store in the whole world at any time and in every place without even questioning the opening and especially the stress of the closing times of a store. There is no more stress since everything is now so close to all us human beings. It is absurd that by just turning on any kind of device and accessing networks individuals can satisfy their needs. It may seem a positive aspect which is sometimes but, the issue is that no one is realising how quickly everything is speeding up therefore we tend to forget how big is the impact that time has on space. This is because all of a sudden technology has the power to make everything become much smaller since all of a sudden the relationship between space and time expires very easily. This is clearly shown with facetime for example that thanks to this network, no matter how far two people can be, they share the same space just by looking into a small screen.

A question for classroom discussion:

Is the rise of mobile devices going to stop us from having real life experiences in terms of purchasing and communicating keeping us as human beings locked up from the outside world?

 

References: 

Kitchin, R., & Dodge, M. (2011). Chapter 9: Consumption. Code/space: Software and Everyday Life. MIT Press. Pp: 181-212.

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